Monday, 14 June 2010

I Feel Like Rob Thomas...

...when he sings 'and it's good / that I'm not / angry!" The lyrics were belied by a sense of struggle to keep up the facade, and he later admitted that he called his first single off his solo album 'Lonely No More' because he wanted to break out of the image he had created of himself as angry & lonely.

I will admit it - I am angry.

I am angry at the oppression of women, races (all races, through racism and xenophobia) and non-heterosexual-identifying people.

While I have never seriously physically threatened by my identification as bisexual (for convenience), I have been discriminated against - many times.

Then again, if you focus on anger, it intensifies. Rob Thomas knew the benefits of abstaining from it: "I'm not angry / and it's never been enough / It gets inside / and tears you up."

What I want is to stop feeling like I have to control myself so that my sexual orientation is seen as politically expedient. I like to flirt as a way of being nice - it helps smooth my journey, as I see it. It's harmless, it's usually soulless, and it rarely amounts to anything. I guess I should avoid flirting with people with ugly souls. But I am not sexless. I am proud of the subtle but outgoing nature of my sexuality. And many people love me for being me.

In a few weeks' time I will meet someone who knows that I used to be attracted to him. I'm trying to focus on the fact that he sees many positives in me. There is nothing typical about our connection, and like every good friendship, it has had its ups and downs.

One thing I want to do in Scandinavia is investigate how comfortable GLBTI people feel in being themselves. Can you be both comfortable and 'out of the box'? What's different about our Scandinavian sweethearts? I suspect things aren't that different, so it's all about the degree of liberation, intensity of nonconformity.

Of course, I'm afraid of getting burnt. CouchSurfing beckons nevertheless...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Anglo-English Cultural Dominance

The English language has the highest number of words, and is widely considered to be the 'richest' one currently in circulation. I feel like, having done my education in English, and engaging with English every day, it's my responsibility to learn another language and immerse itself in the cultures it opens up to me. It would appear that a great place to learn some Spanish is Argentina, which looks outward to Spain and the rest of Europe. I am told Buenos Aires has a high concentration of bookshops, although I believe I would be more comfortable in the nearby city of Rosario. It's apparently a miniature version of BA, with a smaller but still lively cultural and arts scene. I know I'd like to spend some time there, but finding the money to move to Argentina for a while is very difficult, especially when Asia beckons like a hazy dream immediately over the ocean, a much lower price-tag away.

I barely knew anything about Spanish history until my trip to Barcelona ignited a new and unexpected interest in the matter. The pleasures of history are many, when approached the right way. I'd love to immerse myself in the Spanish-speaking word, for an adventure in Argentina is necessarily an introduction to Spain.

I can't go on waiting for the interesting aspects (people) of Latin America start knocking on my door, I'd like to seek them out myself. Europe, Australia, America and even Asia - these places are starting to feel very familiar. I want to walk around in Argentinian sunshine, run my hands over its buildings (where they aren't too dirty), inspect the patterns on the sidewalk. I want to breathe it.

Maybe when I become fluent in the language I can appreciate the richness of another language, the drama, the passion, the poetry. I can create my own version of Spanish which has more layers and possibilities than that of anyone else.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Relief... and Gaiety

It all seems to be sorted out, and, as if to make up for the unpleasantness, my dad has offered me the opportunity to see Salzburg as well... which sounds great. I'm thinking of seeing Hungary instead though - it looks really pretty (is the main reason for my preference.

Hey, have you noticed something curious about the language people are using to 'naturalise'/'validate' homosexuality? People claim that sexual orientation is fixed, innate, that people are 'born gay' and have no choice in the matter. This group takes umbrage over the claim that people 'choose' to be homosexual, which, to be fair, is a theory often peddled by fearful religious folks. However when I say I 'choose' to be bisexual, it's an acknowledgment of my conscious identification of the way I operate sexual and romantic desire to suit my rhetorical needs. Being 'gay' is just a pose, just like 'straight' is a construction. The word 'straight' has a very short history in the context of sexual identity. The word 'gay' is a tool for political change, visible non-heteronormative culture and empowerment. It represents the speaker's verbal agenda, not an objective quality.

I haven't visited Oxford St recently because I've been feeling unappreciated there - a person who is both female and identifies as bisexual is not the ideal addition to a loose assembly of a perpetually harassed seeking escapism, mirror images in the other and hopefully the opportunity to score. Having said that, it's nice when a nice, intelligent man takes the time out from his gay night out to chat to the curious eccentric.

So when Eddie and Meghan of Gaga Stigmata suggest that Lady Gaga feels rejected by her gay friends no matter how hard she tries to fit in in her video for 'Alejandro', it strikes a chord, or half a dozen.


Korean Airlines made an error regarding our flights, and tensions are running high in the household while we wait for word from our flights specialist. I have been unfairly blamed for being partially responsible, which makes me angry because I haven't had any of the ulterior motives that my mother accuses me of in handling the flight arrangements. I simply adopted the job because I am the most fluent English speaker, and would have been glad to leave it to her or even that father figure.

To be honest, I don't want to come back to Australia one bit. I feel stifled and inauthentic living with my parents, and Sydney doesn't do it for me. I am sick of being familiar with the place. It just occurred to me that I should invest in a lock on the door of my room - it would solve some of the 'invasion of privacy' issues I have. I am usually too busy saving my money for traveling purposes. I'd like to fly from Korea to Thailand after my European journey - from there I can travel around South-East Asia, without the interruption of three months.

I'm feeling less angry now, but the misunderstanding between my parents and I just underscores the horror that lurks beneath our deceptively ready appearances. Derision, emotional abuse. The vocabulary I need to articulate this has been buried somewhere along my journey of losing my cool and buying into the vaguest notion of mainstream survival tactics. I used to be a lot more in touch with myself, the fine nuances of my movements. I felt intimidated by no one. I learnt early on that there was no one I utterly admired. No one could fill a position of guide in a way that I was willing to respect. My childhood dreams need to go - the dreams of fitting in happily in my life, being a local or even global celebrity. "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it," relayed Joss Whedon. Buffy quit the world, but the world wouldn't quit her. Even as I wish to fail utterly, be a complete non-entity (in a non-suicidal kind of way), I am resurrected. What does being at peace entail?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Update on My Travel Schedule!

Hello my dears,

Today my father and I decided to stay in Europe until the 10th of August (we depart on the 19th of June). We will be spending most of that time in Bulgaria, with 3-4 nights in Vienna! I feel like the luckiest human being on the face of the planet: not only have I already scheduled to see Prague, Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm - four cities with major presence, and the latter three with powerful innovators residing within, but I will also get to see the 'most livable city in the world', according to the latest polls.

Not only that, my dad is going to take me around Bulgaria, including Plovdiv (dubbed 'the Paris of the Balkans' by Lonely Planet), Koprishtista (or something) and maybe some beach-side towns... as I've already mentioned, I am hankering to reconnect with this somewhat formative culture. I enjoy certain freedoms in Bulgaria, and yes, it may sound odd to seek solace in this disgruntled and economically struggling nation, with all the attendant lack of openmindedness, but there's something soothing about going back there.

I am breaking out into a wide grin... my trip has just been made a little bit fuller and more promising... it's almost ideal (oh for an extra few days in Seoul on the way back).

Lady Gaga recently won a GLAAD award for her advancement of gay rights through her performances of fame, and I feel she's very deserving. I am feeling even happier to be attracted to both women and men lately, and taking a more conscious interest in my homosexual attractions as well.

Are you in touch with what appeals to you most deeply?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

I Don't Identify With Insulting Terms

... but it seems a lot of my favourite writers do. Even Rob Brezsny, who I've seen as the epitome of self-help, used the term 'freak' in a recent horoscope. I had to stop reading Jeanette Winterson's Written On The Body because of her use of the c word. Pico Iyer also refers to other travelers as 'freaks' in his Video Night in Kathmandu. I am appalled at these people. I can't imagine what benefits they think come with using pejoratives.

Dear reader, I hope you remember that you are beautiful, and just caught unaware at the vehemence of others' lack of consideration. Even though it may seem sometimes that everyone is out to hurt you, you are not alone. I support your love of other. And even if you sometimes use those terms yourself, I know you really mean well, and don't use them when you're at your best.

Adore yourself more than you think is possible! :o)

Friday, 4 June 2010

If you ask...

What comes after postmodernism?

You need to go to greater lengths to appreciate postmodernism.

Nothing comes after postmodernism - it's the movement to evoke and destroy all movements.

But why?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Breaking Into Feel-Good Territory

Have you ever held yourself back from feel-good emotions even if you knew they were available to you?

I admit I do this regularly. Why?

The reasons are multi-farious, but here are some: I would stand out from the crowd (but Epiphanie, wouldn't that give you greater confidence to influence people?); I have forgotten that I can feel that free/liberated/happy (how could you let yourself do this? What purpose does it serve?); I am under the impression that stepping into (not out of but into) my comfort zone would unsettle other people, leading to unsettling myself...

I often wonder what would happen if I adopted a more bold approach?

Robyn As A Symbol

I often dream about the disappointed Swedish singer whose voice inspires me so much. She's unnervingly vulnerable, intoxicatingly sad (I try to resist soaking up the melancholy, but how can I when it's so beautifully rendered?) and seeped in multiple and conflicting musical cultures, ideological stances and various levels of personal acceptance. In short, I am intrigued.

I often think that she's my shadow, double or doppelganger - she has the commercial success I simultaneously covet and shy away from. She embodies both presence and absence - yes, she's poised to be a triumphant gatherer and dispersant of culture, but her guardedness (much like that of Lady Gaga) leaves me asking many questions. The walls she erects between herself and her media wooers, ever-conscious of the global gaze, leave her with an intact sense of privacy which is necessary to her well-being (she says she would never want the fame or media scrutiny that surrounds Madonna).

Being commercially successful comes through paying ongoing attention to what your target audience wants. However my target audience changes with each text I create, and I expect them to grow with me, as quickly as I grow by myself. I could never cater to bigots, homophobes, racists and misogynists, but let's face it - they make up a large part of the mainstream.

Sweden has recently been found the most gay-positive nation in Europe, with Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Norway following. Russia and Ukraine seemed the most homophobic. I was reminded of a girl in Ukraine who exclaimed 'Yuck' when I mentioned same-sex attraction to Sarah Palin (as opposed to being attracted to Sarah Palin, a figure I am disgusted by and avoid reading about as often as possible). I was in a situation where I was literally surrounded by people who evinced hatred for themselves and for me, and wasn't focusing on her - I had an authority figure to prove something to. Anyway, at the moment I'm feeling unsettled that I let such obvious homophobia faze me... why was I unresponsive? What could I have done? It was directed at me, but not at me. I had the floor - and I chose not to focus on it. I was too overwhelmed by the negative energy I was trying to counter from other sources, and didn't expect such a biting, socially unacceptable comment.

I suppose that regarding something as socially unacceptable isn't helping me - I'm aware that there is hate of all sorts floating around in the minds of the people I encounter everyday. I also know that I do my best to counter homophobic attitudes whenever possible. Perhaps I need to get more actively involved in promoting diversity in sexual orientation. I've been meaning to print A4 posters in favour of gay rights and/or marriage equality. Hmm. How about "Marriage equality - it's your right to live in a world where everyone is equal"?

Last night, I didn't dream of Robyn (or if I did, I don't remember); I dreamt of hurtling up and down coast-side roads - as in a roller-coaster - in Africa. The land was a dry, cream-tinted gold with tufts of grass here and there, a silver-gray ocean as the necessary rebuttal. I woke up, went to the bathroom, fell back into bed. This time I dreamt I was in Iceland - I was embroiled in a subversive operation which included decoys and women wearing white with black accessories. I think this was inspired by Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video to some extent. Lol

If only I had someone halfway likable to talk to these weeks in real life... my net friends are wonderful, but I miss having a friendly face in front of me.